Thursday, August 09, 2007
Taking a Break from the Haiku
Last night, game number 113, I finally made it to Shea. It took a visit from Zisk's resident Hong Kong correspondant Throm Sturmond to get me out to Flushing for the first time this year. (Fatherhood's reshaped my life for the better, without a doubt, but it knocks going to ballgames down several dozen notches on the totem pole of priorities.) Throm was back in the states for a couple of weeks and making his first trip to NYC. A Mets game was in high order. A Mets/Braves game with El Duquee matching up against John Smoltz was even better, and we got what we hoped for--an early lead, a good pitching duel, and a late inning comeback, along with ample ninth inning drama. (Perhaps Virginia native Billy Wagner didn't notice the mugginess, didn't realize that it was already hot enough without having to load the bases with no outs.) Still, the best part of the game was listening to Throm's tales from the east, catching games in Japan (he's working on an article for the next issue) and traveling to as many neighboring nations as he can. I should have taken notes. At one point last night I knew the best places in Asia to gamble and drink and swim and dine, but the details got lost in the humidity and, getting back to the game for a moment, so did the Mets/Braves contest. The Flushing faithful seemed complacent, bored, even. The Wave generated as much noise as anything happening on the field. With a divisional rival, the divisional rival, at home in August, I'd hope that the game would move to the forefront, but it didn't. I was guilty, too. In addition to Throm's stories, the most memorable part of the night, for me at least, wasn't Moises Alou's game-winning home run. It was the sight of hundreds of baseball cards, a promotional give-away from SNY, fluttering from the upper decks. They looked like flashbulbs popping as they caught the light. Engaged fans might toss their free cards on the ground, leave them behind with the hot dog wrappers and beer cups, but they don't need to amuse themselves with projects that border on performance art. Are we in the Knicks Zone? That "Yeah, yeah, the regular season is just a warm up, bring on the playoffs" mindset that plagued the Knicks throughout the 90s despite winning as many titles as the Raptors? Is another divisional crown a ho-hum foregone conclusion?